Essence of Teamwork in Supply Chain Management Process

1. Introduction

The contemporary business is in challenge as they must provide quality and on time services to the demanding clients. The success of a firm is depending on affiliation and competent dealing with present business demands and at the same time being responsive to the environmental changes which is known as ambidexterity (Gibson and Birkinshaw, 2004; Raisch and Birkinshaw, 2008).

Organizations need to resolve internal tensions and conflicting demands in their task environments if they want to be ambidextrous. Different types of challenges are involved:

  1. integration and interunit coordination (Gibson and Birkinshaw, 2004; Siggelkow and Rivkin, 2006);
  2. sustaining knowledge integration, those can be impaired by a lack of direct transmission channels and by not only inter but also intra-organizational distance (Hansen, 2002); and
  3. preserving a stable strategy toward long-term success, integrating learning processes based on both internal and external growths (Raisch and Birkinshaw, 2008; Vermeulen and Barkema, 2001).

According to Raisch and Birkinshaw (2008) there is a research gap on how ambidextrous organizations deal with these challenges. However, to support those challenges now a day’s researchers have endeavored to portray explicit supply-chain team techniques.

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Specific multi-agent simulation was proposed by Breuer et al. (2013) so that a cross-supply chain team can apply it collaboratively, which will help to assistance decision-making processes in sensitive logistics nodes after an interruption has happened.

This paper will try to examine the relationship between teamwork and supply chain management process that will help to understand the complete logistic approach of launching teamwork and configuring in Supply Chain Operations. This research will highlight the team as a central work-unit within Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes, endeavoring to govern firstly, the events in which the formation of a working team is indispensable; secondly, focusing on an ideal team-compositions, at all levels of the extended enterprise (EE), and overtime; and finally, developing a best methods for handling teamwork within them, that will help to maximize their effective and efficient decision-making and operation processes at the same time a required execution for the long-range welfares of all parties concerned.

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2. Literature Review

2.1 Team

Teams are shaped with specific goals and worked with the responsibility to achieve those goals. Teams allow their members to focus on problem solving task and encourage to attain common goals. In team members are using each other’s strengths that helps to solve a problem smoothly and faster way.

2.2 Teamwork

Teamwork can be defined as a set of interrelated opinions, activities, and emotional state of each team member that are needed to function as a team and that syndicate to enable synchronized, adaptive performance and task objectives consequential in value-added consequences (e.g., Morgan, Glickman, Woodard, Blaiwes, & Salas, 1986; Salas, Sims, & Klein, 2004). As there are different types of team (e.g., distributed, face-to-face teams), therefore the characteristics of teamwork is also different.

Several researchers have proposed team classifications (e.g., Devine, 2002; McGrath, 1984; Sundstrom, 1999) to contribution in more clearly defining the tasks a team may involve in and the needed capabilities, the constancy of team membership, the contact and communication of team members, and the life span of the team (EDUARDO SALAS, DANA E. SIMS, C. SHAWN BURKE; 2005).

It has been argued and empirically reinforced that the team task will strongly affect the supply chain process (e.g., Hackman, Brousseau, & Weiss, 1976; Kent & McGrath, 1969; Sorenson, 1971).

Several researchers have projected team task typologies (e.g., Cannon-Bowers, Tannenbaum, Salas, & Volpe, 1995; Fleishman, 1975; McGrath, 1984; O’Brien, 1968; Steiner, 1972; Wageman, 1995). Many typologies focus on the instruction where shares of the team task are accomplished and the amount of interdependence among the team members that is required (e.g., O’Brien, 1968; Steiner, 1972; Thibaut & Kelley, 1959; Thompson, 1967). For instance, Steiner (1972) illustrious among types of tasks as disjunctive, conjunctive, additive, discretionary, compensatory, complementary, and divisible. Whereas some of the researchers have come out with a very complex models to define team tasks. Shaw (1976) made a differentiation among team tasks based on difficulty, solution multiplicity, intrinsic interest, cooperation requirements, familiarity, and problem-solving requirements.

2.3 Teamwork and Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is a pattern that continuously changing business and business relationships. It gives us the realization that the product pipeline for a business ranges from vendor to the final customer. This huge supply chain activity requires a joint effort of different concern groups or teams to progress and make an effective SCM . Research in supply chain management has principally focus on the area of operations management, logistics and information technology systems. Therefore, researchers obviously concentrate on the operations aspect of supply chains with limited reference to teamwork of SCM (Sanjay T. Menon, 2012). An effective supply chain team work consists of following works: purchasing, product planning, inventory control, warehouse management, item master control, freight coordination, sourcing, contract management, customer service etc. In small companies one person might handle those activities under the extensive parasol of supply chain management. However, in the large companies there are a team of people who just handle one or a subset of one of those functional area. When each member is aware about the roles and responsibilities of activities that will help to build a flawless supply chain team. For assigning roles and responsibilities manager needs to set them consecutively in the following format: sourcing, contract management, supplier management, purchasing, freight coordination, warehouse management, item master control, inventory control, production planning, customer service. These are not real precious flow of functions as the necessities of every supply chain is exceptional and depend on company function as some the functions might be more affiliated than others. In case of managing supply chain as different teams are involved to make the process effective so different personalities are also involve in the team which is also a big problem in supply chain team. Moreover, many have asked, explored and deliberated the issue of effective and efficient decision making and decision implementation in teams (Adizes, 1992, 2004; Beirhoff and Muller, 2005; Tjosvold, 2006; Gibson and Saxton, 2005).

It has been found that in diversified organizations there are different stakeholders from different organizational functional areas and organizations are involved in a working team like SCM team and opposing interests, expectations, outlooks, knowledge and acuities may seriously threaten team processes (Elias and Zwikael, 2007). In the same way, Holweg et al. (2005) state that as firms often have separating benefits in the short term, and such struggles of interest alleviate the obligation of SC collaboration and fully sharing demand information.

3. Hypothesis Development

According to Adizes (2004) the administration of any venture, team, project or decision depends on the exploiting two objectives like: the quality of decisions taken; and the competence of their execution. A model is recommended to indorse those two managerial objectives (Adizes, 1992; Shetach, 2009; Shetach, 2010): the “capi” model. Qualitative decisions (or set of decisions) should be appreciated for managing team decisions and projects. The “capi” model (Figure-1) recommends that team and project manager should explore three possible risky factors, prior to implementation.

Figure 1: The “capi” Model

  1. Authority: in the “capi” model “recommends” its users to confirm in advance about the project manager’s complete authority to perform independently where decisions need to be taken in the project.
  2. Power of cooperation: to ensure maximum success in any project like SCM one person should confirm in advance to cooperate others with necessary know-how and willingness to cooperate.
  3. Influence (or information): one must ensure in advance that qualitative decisions are take which is suitable and workable in real life.

It is the combination of three factors authority (a), power of cooperation (p) and influence (i); with help of this model an individual will be enabling to maximize his/her abilities to achieve ultimate result. For a SCM team all parties need to follow these three factors as they are core to implement SCM process successfully.

The “capi” model is a dependable tool for analyzing the importance of formation of a working team or ‘local’ problem solving is enough to perform. Sometimes it is tough to predict how an apparently minor issue become serious after dealt with it, resembling like a bigger area of how matters within the complete SCM process. The effective supply chain management depend on a ‘team’ that has clear vision, mission, proper information of authority which thoroughly supervising and monitoring the overall SCM process, in charge of the synchronization and collaboration of all other teams (ad hoc and others).

The role of manufacturing knowledge with SCM process was discussed by Paiva et al. (2008). They contend about the suitable way to distribute, share and use know-how will empower SC partners and parties to contribute more proactively in terms of strategic decision making as they know the goals, threats and the opportunities in the market place. Manufacturer knows better about the competencies of the group members to support of competitiveness. SCM is a procedure that effort to work with the whole organization so every group can work together to take the strengths from each other. Moreover, the nature of teams those are created to handle different aspects of the business is generally interdisciplinary by nature. So, the differences among the teams creates an initial inconsistent interest of their members. Each will interpret “effectiveness” and “success” in a different angle as teams are diversified. Because of these differences sometimes teams fail to come up with mutual decisions in the SCM process (Cagliano et al., 2005).

H1: There is an association between teamwork and supply chain management process.

4. Research Design

4.1 Sample and Data Collection

Data will be collected from overall 100 teams from four firms who are involved in supply chain management process. A list of projects with names and contact information of team members will be collected while team members will be informed that a study about the teamwork of SCM process will be conducted. All the team leaders, team external managers and team members will be chosen randomly for interview. But the participation is strictly voluntary. A completely standardized questionnaire (five-point answer scale) will be used for data collection.

4.2 Measures

I will consider all the constructs in this study related to the team as the unit of analysis. Consequently, all the measures will be specified on the team level. Therefore, respondents will be asked to assess properties and behaviors of the team. The questionnaire will be administered in the English language. In case of measuring “effectiveness” and “efficiency” I will follow partially the scale that was used by Gemuenden and Lechler (1997) in their large-scale study of project management in Germany. Data from different respondents will be used to measure the different variables to confirm content validity and avoid a possible common source bias.

4.3 Data Analysis

In data analysis section, I will conduct a factor analysis (principle component method) on the team level by using aggregated team member responses. Additionally, I will follow the measures recommended by Henik and Tzelgov (1985) to limit the probable halo effect as team members perception about the team success might cause them to provide corelated ratings.

5. Discussions

This paper will try to find the relationship between teamwork and supply chain management process. Collecting data regarding team performance from different viewpoints will make it possible to investigate how managers, team leaders and team members collective teamwork influence the overall SCM process. To monitor the complete SCM process an effective supreme alliance team and the hierarchy of the permanent team is responsible to coordinate the functions of all the teams related in the process. I expect this paper will help SCM practitioners to understand the importance of teamwork in all aspect of supply chain management process. Finally, all the arguments made in this proposal will be tested in a diversity of supply chain management groups and to authenticate them for the effective and efficient management of these processes over time.

Cite this page

Essence of Teamwork in Supply Chain Management Process. (2021, Sep 01). Retrieved from

Essence of Teamwork in Supply Chain Management Process

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